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-- Malikka McDuffie
Whether they're spitting words of encouragement, leading with love, or embracing their divine feminine energies, these women stepped on to the scene gifting us with music worthy of multiple spins. In 2019, women are infiltrating hip hop, bringing balance to the male-dominated genre and captivating audiences through creativity, self-awareness and vulnerability.
Hailing from Philly, Tierra Whack is taking the music world by storm by showing off her skills as a writer, producer, and rapper. Inviting us into her world with the 15-track debut audiovisual album Whack World, Tierra takes us through both playful, yet surreal thoughts and experiences. “I have so much to offer and I think of so many ideas throughout the day, week, the month, and it was just a way to, like, say, 'Hey guys, this is what I have, I have a lot,'” Tierra told The FADER. Wanting to make the album relate to us, Tierra conjured up a whimsical piece of art and packaged it to perfection.
In 2018, Summer Walker’s Last Day of Summer brought warmth to the cold winter months. In her breakout single, “Girls Need Love,” Summer explores her sexual desires while rifting over a scintillating beat. Taking a deep dive into our inner thoughts, “Girls Need Love” is the laidback women's empowerment anthem we’ve been waiting for. Following the release of her CLEAR EP in January and the “Girls Need Love (Remix),” Summer is gearing up to hit stages across the country during her first solo tour beginning this month.
Garnering over 2 million YouTube views to date, Coi Leray’s “Huddy” secured a strong fanbase. Produced by Noc, “Huddy” -- defined by Coi -- is a word with multiple meanings and can be used if someone is simply doing “the most” or when something is perceived as being grand. Being one of Republic Records' newest signees, Coi Leray followed up her excitement with the release of her latest project, EC2. In an interview with Billboard, Coi described what it’s like to have a career that’s on a rapid incline. "Honestly, it does get overwhelming sometimes, but I just don’t stop. I continue to what I do," she explained. “Now that everything’s moving, I’m always busy."
“You” finds Nicole Bus reminiscing over the admiration she has for her man. Growing up in a small Holland village, Nicole listened to Sade, Bob Marley and various gospel artists. “You” is enriched with passion, soul, love and light, and samples Wu-Tang Clan’s culture classic “C.R.E.A.M.” Nicole wrote the song as a way to enrich and protect the image of black men, while delivering it to a society that sees them as unworthy of respect, time and time again. “In the media, the profile of black males is pretty negative,” Bus says. “In the heavy times we’re going through right now, we don’t have any encouraging songs about the beauty, strength, and intelligence of black men. I decided to write one.” The single follows the 2017 release of Nicole Bus’ five-track EP titled T.O.T.A.
Produced by Fre$h!, “I Need A Coupe” is PineappleCITI’s way of listing off the lavish luxuries the rapper is hopeful to have in her future lifestyle. The video follows the femcee riding around town with her special lady, as they bask in all that the world has to offer. Just last month, PineappleCITI released a 10-track full length project entitled Neon Blue in which “I Need A Coupe” is featured. With initial backing from 50 Cent’s engineer Ky Miller, the Newark native proved to hold her own with the 2016 single “Rose Colored.” Using the art of manifestation, PineappleCITI bridges the gap between speaking things into existence and hard work on the song.
Members of the newest generation of Texas rappers, S3nsi Molly and Lil Brook teamed up to develop the viral sensation “223.” With a screen recording gone viral, “223” became a fan favorite and pulled in support from fellow rappers Lil Yachty and the late Lil Pooh. Securing the bag and dismissing any thoughts of hesitation, the track finds S3nsi and Brook ready to pop off if and when necessary. “S3nsi stay bustin ops/ Pull out the chopper your body gone rock/ Don’t give a f*ck, I do what I want,” the track goes. As one of Def Jam Records’ latest signees, S3nsi Molly continues to make the music business her playground with her follow up release “Texas.”
Twenty-five-year-old London rapper Little Simz AKA Bars Simzson announced the arrival of her third studio album, GREY Area, back in January with the release of its lead single, "Selfish." Using her ability to formulate powerful messaging that proclaim her wants and needs, Little Simz taps Londoner Cleo Sol to lace the track’s hook. While continuing to promote the album's March 1 release, Simz is also gearing up to embark on a 15-city tour. Driving home the importance of ownership, Simz released GREY Area under her own label Age 101 via AWAL Recordings.
Rising British singer Mahalia was first introduced to us through her sensational 90s inspired R&B track “Sober.” In “Do Not Disturb,” Mahalia vibes over a bouncy uptempo beat, while recounting the memories produced during a now-failed relationship. Continuing to captivate audiences with staunch vocals and call out the utter annoyance of men who insist on wasting a woman’s time, the singer basks in self-awareness and self-worth. Reclaim your time with this empowering address: "This time, this time I won’t hold the line/ Been givin’ you time that you do not deserve/ No, you’re not mine, you just pretend to be/ Don’t need you tempting me with your alerts/ Do not disturb."
Interscope Records signee Melii delivered the in-your-face track “Sh*t Talk” last August. Known for her firecracker lyrics, “Sh*t Talk” is the follow up to the Harlem rapper’s debut single, “Icey.” Currently on tour with mentor Meek Mill, Melii showcases her versatility. Her debut project, Phases, is said to take fans and new audiences on a journey to discovering exactly who the rapid speed femcee truly is. “The album will be an introduction to Melii,” she explained to Billboard. “All the different characters I have and phases I’ve went through.” Continuing to provide a glimpse into her world, Melii recently opened up to Angie Martinez about the accidental shooting of her friend. “It was a tragic accident,” Melii shared. “It feels like it was yesterday, it’s been a year or two. It happens while being young and reckless and just not careful. I was just drinking, smoking, they were playing with it (the gun). The clip was out and there was one in the chamber and then it happened.” Now, the rising star is in the state of transition as she moves away from her past and into a successful future in music.
Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion wraps up our list with the go-hard or go-home single “Big Ole Freak.” Al B. Sure’s “Nite and Day” adds softness to the single, while Megan is nothing but, while lacing the track with a number of standout scenarios. The 300 Entertainment signee gave us a full preview of her unapologetic views during multiple listens of her 2018 mixtape, Tina Show. With “Big Ole Freak” being a healthy addition to our playlists, the Munachi Osegbu directed video shows women everywhere why we should always embrace our divine feminine form. “I talk about what I love on my body,” Megan tells Complex. “And I talk about what I like to do. So if you wanna listen, you can. If you don’t, that’s you.”
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